I have been called a “cold” person on more than one occasion. No one likes to be known as cold or heartless or ice queen; yet I have heard this reference way too often. Once, an ex-boyfriend said I was cold and unreachable. In a totally different setting, a friend of a friend called me cold and snobbish.These words haunted me for a long time, until I took a psychology class and understood my personality better. I must say, understanding my personality is one of the best things that has happened to me. The self-awareness that comes with understanding my personality means that I am not easily brought down by other people’s opinions of me.
After learning that I am a “Thinking” type as well as an introvert (I’m an ISTP personality type, to be exact), I never let the “cold” reference bother me again. I now understand that my decisions are influenced by logic, and that I prefer to get the facts in a situation as opposed to using emotion to influence my decision.
(What’s your personality type? Take a free personality assessment.)
Those who take the time to know me understand that I am not cold and snobbish. In fact, I can be a softy when around those I care about.
Why Thinking Introverts May Appear Cold
I’ve been called a cold person when I didn’t respond to situations as it was expected of me. Situations like not celebrating as expected, not reciprocating a heartfelt comment, being terrible at comforting someone, not jumping in ecstasy when presented with a well-meant gift, or not showing empathy when it seemed called for.
Failure to display emotion easily may seem cold and may be taken very wrongly by the other person. It’s hard to know what a Thinking introvert is feeling. Often, a Thinking introvert will analyze a situation and form very different scenarios in their mind than would be expected.
For example, when a boyfriend gives me a gift for no special reason, I think things like, “Does this mean this relationship is serious? Oh, now I have to get him a gift! He bought me a book, he really is awesome!” As much as I am grateful about the present, I usually fail to display how I feel at that moment because other thoughts are running through my mind — even though I am really happy.
Thinking introverts, like the INTJ, INTP, ISTJ, and ISTP, tend to be misunderstood because they don’t say much about what they feel. For example, if you give them a present, they may simply say thank you, showing little emotion, like I do. And yet that gift means a lot to them. If you take the time to observe, you will notice how delicately they treat the gift, or keep it close.
Showing emotion can be challenging for Thinking personalities, and they are likely to detach themselves when feelings are involved. Due to their analytical and logical nature, they may inadvertently hurt the feelings of others without knowing it. Sometimes they put logic in situations where it is not called for.
Thinkers vs. Feelers
One of the dimensions of Myers-Briggs personality types is the Thinking aspect. The theory is that each person presents as either an extrovert or introvert, a sensor or intuitive, a thinker or feeler, or a judger or perceiver. Taking a personality assessment is a good place to start in determining your preferences.
It is often the feelers, such as INFJs, INFPs, ESFJs, etc., who perceive the Thinking types as cold. It’s not uncommon for Feeling and Thinking types to clash on certain issues, whether they are introverts or extroverts. This is because feelers usually make decisions by weighing what people care about and the perspectives of the people involved in a situation, whereas thinkers make decisions using impersonal logic. Neither way is superior to the other; in fact, we need both ways in the world. The Feeling type is why we have strongly empathic people and the Thinking type is why we have very logical people.
To illustrate this difference, let’s use an example of a Thinking husband and a Feeling wife. The wife has just lost her sister and comes to her husband crying. The husband is pained by his wife’s sorrow and thinks of how he can help. So he answers, “I will take care of the funeral costs.” The wife gets hurt by the words of her husband. She says, “My sister just died, and you are already thinking about the funeral? I am hurting here!”
The wife expects comfort from her husband. Her heart is bleeding, and a hug and some comforting words is what she needs. The husband, on the other hand, understands the wife is hurt, and he thinks that the best way he can help is by solving a problem — the funeral costs. Thinking personalities tend to seek solutions while maybe all that was needed was a listening ear.
Relationships between thinkers and feelers have their pros and cons. Even though they clash sometimes, they can balance each other with logic and empathy. The Feeling type brings some magic and softness to the relationship.
When two Thinking personalities are in a relationship, everything is about logic. There is trust and rational decision-making, and they will show affection differently — no tears of gratitude.
Please don’t call Thinking types cold. We do have emotions. We just have a different way of showing them.